Recycling FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. All recycling bins on campus are part of the single stream recycling process. In the interest of providing consistent public messaging about recycling on campus, we have tried to update all bins for single stream. Bins that are labeled for particular materials simply have not been updated with new signage. If you find a bin that is not labeled for single stream recycling, please contact and we will come and re-label the bin.

KU Recycling does not provide secure disposal for confidential documents. Material placed in recycling bins serviced by KU Recycling should only contain non-confidential and public information. We currently do not provide a paper/document shredding service. Please visit the KU Purchasing Office contracts web site for more information about KU's "paper/document shredding" service provider options.

Visit the Provosts Office website for more information on document security and privacy, or ask your dean or department head to conduct a security audit for your department.

Visit the KU Privacy Office for more tips on how delete or dispose of information when moving around or away from KU.

Yes, we do accept bagged shredded paper. However, we ask that you do not put bags in or on top of the recycling bins. Instead, complete an Online Work Request to schedule a special collection.

Keep in mind that if the material is considered "confidential" prior to shredding, KU Recycling is not the appropriate disposal service. Please visit the KU Purchasing Office for more information about KU's "paper/document shredding" service provider options.

If you are anticipating an office move or clean out, KU Recycling can provide you with additional recycling bins and pick up. Simply complete an Online Work Request, noting the office number, date bins are needed, materials to be collected, and the approximate amount. When they are full simply email us at to schedule a collection, and we will pick them up from your office when we visit your building on our normal collection route.

If you would like to request a permanent recycling location in your building, please email us at We will visit your building, and work with you to meet your specific needs.

If you have furniture or office items no longer in use, please visit the KU Surplus page to coordinate pick up. Please do not stack surplus furniture or equipment on or around the blue recycling centers. Due to the nature of the surplus collection schedule, please allow several days notice.

Alkaline batteries, free of mercury, are to be discarded in the trash. However, all rechargeable, lead acid, and automotive batteries must be recycled. Submit a waste removal request to the Department of Environment, Health & Safety for collection and responsible disposal of these materials generated by campus departments.

Florescent bulbs contain mercury.  All university fluorescent bulbs/lamps must be recycled.  Bulbs must be packaged in boxes or cardboard tubes to prevent breakage and contain the bulb if broken.  Submit a waste removal request to EHS for disposal.

Refer to EHS's handy guide of other items they should handle and request a pick up. 

Offices with spent ink jet and toner cartridges should submit an Online Work Request to KU Recycling.

KU Information Technology provides a way for unused or unwanted electronic equipment or data storage devices to be securely recycled. Most items can be disposed of at no cost, and there is no charge for pickup. Contact your departmental technical support person or email KU IT at ​for disposal of these items.

Due to the obsolete nature of their components, CRT monitors can be picked up by sending a request to Environment, Health and Safety. Please do not put them in the trash; they contain toxic materials. KU IT recognizes the need for safe and alternative disposal.

  • Recycling paper uses 60% less energy and 55% less water than manufacturing paper from virgin timber. It also reduces water pollution by 35% and air pollution by 74%.
  • When 1 ton of newsprint is recycled, 3 cubic meters of landfill space and 16 trees are saved.
  • Producing a can from recycled aluminum instead of ore requires only 5% as much energy.
  • Recycling one ton of steel saves 2500 lbs of iron ore, 1400 lbs of coal, and 120 lbs of limestone.
  • Plastics, which are made primarily from fossil fuels, account for about 11% of municipal waste by weight, but closer to 25% by volume.
  • Land filling 10,000 tons of waste creates 6 jobs. Recycling the same 10,000 tons creates 36 jobs.

KU Recycling Technicians collect recycling from most campus buildings each week. Materials are transported to a central location and sold to recycling companies. Eventually, your "trash" is sent to a mill and turned into useful products:

  • Recycled paper is used to make newsprint, paperboard, tissue, printing and writing paper, among other products.
  • Recovered plastic is made into pellets used to produce fiberfill for jackets and sleeping bags, polyester fiber for clothing, containers for non-food products, plastic lumber, toys, recycling containers, and countless other items.
  • The average aluminum can contains 40% post-consumer recycled aluminum. In as little as six weeks, the aluminum from the beverage can you recycle today could be back on the shelves as a new can.
  • Recycled steel is used to make steel cans, building materials, tools, and almost everything else made of steel.

Yes, the KU Medical Center recycles. Visit the KUMC Recycling page ​for more information.

The Department of Environment, Health, and Safety is responsible for the collection of hazardous waste generated by campus departments, including some universal waste like lead batteries and florescent bulbs. Refer to their handy guide on which materials they should handle and request a pick up.

Visit the City of Lawrence website for more information about what to do with your personal household hazardous waste.

Please submit an Online Work Request to have excess pallets picked up from your location for recycling.

Yes, the City of Lawrence does offer curbside recycling collection. Please visit City of Lawrence Recycling page to learn about the curbside program as well as other local recycling resources.

KU practices centralized waste and recycling collection as a means of creating a campus community that is more mindful of the waste they create. Studies have shown that the act of monitoring one's own waste bins and the frequency at which they become full can lead to more conscious choices in consumption and disposal. The ultimate goal is to increase the amount of recycled material and decrease the amount of waste sent to landfill. This program also allows maintenance to spend valuable time on other tasks such as campus beautification.